America has a new image of what is beautiful! Yes, a dark skin African American woman is gracing the cover of People Magazine. It’s quite refreshing for me as an African American woman to see Oscar Winner, Lupita Nyong’o taking her place among the likes of Julia Roberts , Cindy Crawford and Halle Berry. I will always remember how beautiful she looked on the red carpet for the Golden Globes. I thought the color of her dress against her skin color was breath taking. (See Lupita in the bottom picture).
Unfortunately, women of color are rarely seen as beautiful. Like it or not, this is the truth. Sure we’ve had Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry, but never a woman who is the color of milk chocolate and has natural hair, a wide nose and full lips. I don’t purchase People Magazine, but I will purchase this particular issue. I want my granddaughter to know that she can be seen as beautiful and not have blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. Not that I don’t see women who have these attributes as beautiful, it’s important that our daughters have roles models in all colors, shapes and occupations too and we need to start promoting more of them. After all this is America. A melting pot of diverse people.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but as an African American we struggle to find beauty within ourselves. We never see it on television and we rarely see it in magazines or books. I think Lupita summed it up nicely, she said she first equated beauty with what she saw on television too, “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” She says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.” Her statement couldn’t be more true. It starts to affect your self-esteem and who you are. You start thinking that you will never have those attributes, so you must be ugly, unlovable and the list goes on.
I decided that I would work on my granddaughter’s self-esteem early as I did with my daughter. I told my daughter that she must constantly tell Zarriah that she is beautiful and praise her regularly. She must grow up to be confident in herself just in case the world doesn’t see her that way. If you’re not a woman of color, you may not be able to relate to this; however, it is an important issue for mothers and grandmothers of color who are raising daughters and granddaughters.
I was elated when I found out Lupita will also be promoting Lancome Paris products. I spend tons of money on Lancome as it is my make-up of choice, so it’s nice to see the Brand reaching out to a more diverse clientele. We have a long way to go in this country in defining what is beautiful, but we’re off to a nice start.